Seagulls, scarcity and politics

Seagulls live in an unpredictable environment. Many small meals and the occasional feast. This is evident in their behavior.  Seagulls spend a lot of time flying in search of food, and generally do so alone. When a seagull finds a small meal it quietly swoops down, eats it, and then returns to the search.

If a seagull finds a large meal such as a wash up of dead fish, It’s community spirit is activated and it lands and lets out a loud and distinctive call (in between mouth fulls) to all other seagulls. All seagulls come come to share a massive feast that might otherwise go to waste, being that it is more than one seagull could eat.

So the simple social contract seagulls have is similar to this: Every one spread out and search for food, if you find enough for just you, eat it, and keep looking, if you find the mother lode, shout out and everyone gets a meal.

A flock of seagulls converge on some food. from http://furiousphotos.com/2009/04/flock-of-seagulls/

These two different responses to scarcity and abundance in a stochastic (random) environment shows two different modes of of economic operation in line with two different economic situations.

Scarcity and abundance.

Interestingly, one mode is that of the rugged individualist in scarcity and the other is the socialist in  abundance. Lets be clear that seagulls have no government, kings, queens or gods. So both of these economic modes are anarchistic. So we have seagulls operating as anarcho capitalists in scarcity and anarcho syndicalists when faced with abundance, these modes of operation must be sustainable, or otherwise seagulls would have died out long ago.

It’s worth noting that seagulls are smart enough to pick up closed seashells and drop them onto hard packed sand in order to crack them open and eat the contents, and smart enough to develop two different modes of economic operation in scarcity and abundance.

Dumb birds, I think not.

Go and watch some seagulls and learn a bit about politics. It’s really funny to watch a seagull displaying dominance to scare other birds away from the food, and while busy doing this, the food scrap is then snatched by a third party.

Lesson: if you spend too much time asserting your rights to a found asset, you many not get an opportunity to actually benefit from the asset.

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